Gorgeous muck dive at Butedale, British Columbia

Location: Under the docks at the abandoned cannery at Butedale, British Columbia
To those who are not familiar with the term “muck diving”,  it might seem counter-intuitive that a “muck dive” could be gorgeous.  In fact, muck diving is an increasingly popular type of diving in exotic locations where all sorts of weird, wonderful and beautiful animals can be observed and photographed.   Scuba diving under the docks at the old salmon cannery at Butedale is a perfect example of great muck diving.   Started the day with a morning dive on the Transpac with excellent visibility and the usual spectacular orientation of this particular wreck  ( the 180 foot ship is stuck like a fly on the wall of a 1500 foot deep sheer face with the bow at 110 fsw and the stern at 280 fsw!!).   Had some shore time to explore the ruins and then it was time for dive #2.  I backrolled off the front of our dive skiff Inde into beautiful green water and great vis  (note to self – do not  backroll off the skiff with an unsecured sling bottle unless one is tightly holding onto it  –  I cracked myself very painfully in the temple with my sling bottle).  What an amazing sight it was underwater ….  Sunbeams were shining through the cracks between the planks of the dock with dazzling white light just as if they were spotlights in a theatre.   The water was green in colour and the visiblity was so good that I could see through all the dock pilings and off into the distance where the sun was shining down on the bottom and illuminating everything with backlight.  Animal life was great and included the regular cast of characters ie. giant pacifc octopus, red octopus, decorated warbonnets, a variety of nudibranchs, tube dwelling anemones, tunicates, wee little sculpins, gobies and other small fish, snails, crabs everywhere and loads of starfish  (well, sea stars to be more accurate)..   Masses of white tunicates were literally blanketing all the debris on the bottom  (looking like little – ahem – prophylactic birth control devices standing up on everything!!).   The sea stars were especially beautiful  –  I came across one field of giant sunflower stars (each animal being 2 – 3 feet across) literally blanketing the mud bottom in 20 feet of water and illuminated by the sunshine.   It was a sight that I will not soon forget.  The start of our Guadalupe great white shark season is just around the corner and I am sad that our Alaska/BC season is almost over.  Captain Mike
Weather: Air temperature low 80’s, 10 knot winds, 1 foot chop.  Not a cloud in the sky.
Water: Water temperature 47 degrees, visibility 50 – 100 feet..

By Nautilus Staff

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